O2 UK promises to be carbon neutral by 2025

O2 UK is the latest telco to plug its green credentials, promising to clean up its supply chain and be carbon neutral by 2025.

With sustainability a major feature on the corporate strategies of almost every telco nowadays, O2 has outlined its plans to reduce its corporate impact on the environment. Aside from a promise to be carbon neutral by 2025, the telco has also committed to work with its supply chain partners to reduce emissions by 30% over the same period.

“Today, we’re putting a stake in the ground,” said Mark Evans, O2 CEO. “We want to go further and faster, setting the bar in our industry to tackle climate change and build the greenest network for our customers. Every office, every store, every mast. We will get the changes done to be a Net Zero Business by 2025.”

Although concrete examples of how carbon emissions will be reduced are somewhat iffy for the moment, O2 is at least setting itself an aggressive target to hit. Setting out the right ambitions is a solid step in the right direction, though now it will have to follow up with an actionable strategy.

When asked for specific examples of ways in which the team plans on reducing the carbon footprint, the answers were a bit vague. Picking the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly technology during the procurement process is a fine answer, but it doesn’t really say anything at the same time. Though there are a few examples.

As it stands, O2 claims to use only renewable energy on the sites which it owns, though it has also stated it will attempt to coerce third party landlords that support the O2 network. This will be done by incentivising landlords to switch to renewable energy by offering a discounted tariff via the telco’s UK energy supplier. On the supply chain side, it appears suppliers are contractually obliged to improve carbon emissions each year.

The green commitment is of course an element of the telco business, which is becoming more common throughout the industry, and although it is little more than PR smoke for the moment, at least there have been concrete deadlines set. Now all the likes of O2 has to do is create more robust strategy to meet these ambitious targets.

Carbon emissions
Year tCO2eq
2012 6,696.68
2013 8,432.71
2014 7,448.12
2015 10,840.78
2016 10,269.38
2017 7,699.95
2018 7,159.89